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The Ijssel Cog, a well preserved medieval shipwreck

In July 2011 a spectacular find was made near the Dutch city of Kampen. During preliminary scans of the riverbed of the river IJssel, for a project to deepen it, a ship was found that had similarities to a medieval cog ship. Most of the ship was hidden beneath the clay of the river and just a small part of the wood had been exposed. The ship was therefore very well preserved, also thanks to the water being fresh. Further research was done and dating based on the ceramics contained in the shipwreck, a dendrochronology and the construction, suggested that the ship was indeed a cog and that it was built after 1399 and sunk before 1440. Further research uncovered two more ships in its vicinity, but most of the attention was directed at the cog because of its intact state.

It is believed that the cog was sunk deliberately to manage the river IJssel. There was no freight on board. It was said that sinking the ship would have lead the river into a certain direction. A connection was made to the current project of making sure the river would have enough room to transport water down the stream.
In 2015 efforts to salvage and preserve the cog were started. The first loose parts were hoisted out of the water. Many of the parts were very well preserved and shed a lot of light on the way the ship was constructed and how it would have looked. On the ship itself an oven was found, which also gives a lot of information about life on board. in 2016 the biggest effort started and it shows the amount of energy and preparation that is needed to preserve a shipwreck ex-situ. A huge construction was needed to hoist the ship from its location, and it also had to be made free from the sand and clay on the bottom. After years of preparation the ship was above the water again. Then it was brought to Lelystad for conservation and further research.

By: Juriaan van der Ster
Dutch version

The Ijsel Cog